February 15, 2020: DKLo invited us to a tasting at Tam Vietnamese Street Food and Cafe (369 Keele St), a brand new Vietnamese family-owned restaurant in the Junction in the west side of Toronto. We were excited to try out this restaurant in this part of the city, as I don’t tend to frequent it often.
Ken and I drove down to the restaurant and found a nearby green P parking lot for our vehicle. Tam Vietnamese Street Food and Cafe is located at the intersection of Keele Street and Dundas Street West, making it a high traffic and high pedestrian area — great for business and locals.
The restaurant features an ordering station at the front where you can partially see the kitchen and then a big spacious dining room with tables for small or large groups. It was bright and airy inside.
Upon entering, I recognized a few other food bloggers/influencers and said hi. I didn’t see where Darren was until we realized he was chatting up with the others in the kitchen. He came out to the dining room shortly and welcomed us as well as informed us that we were able to choose a main, appetizer, and drink each in order to try out the menu.
The menu wasn’t very large at the time of the soft opening visit; there were only eight items, but even then we had so much trouble making our picks because literally everything on the menu looked so appealing! The prices were also straight-forward and reasonable. The flat price of each dish already included tax, which is always refreshing to see.
We were then also invited into the kitchen where we oversaw the owners assemble fresh noodle soups and fresh shrimp rolls. There was clearly a lot of passion involved in managing their family business. The owner Joseph really wanted to weave more of his own favourite regional Vietnamese dishes to diversify Toronto’s current culinary scene.
In terms of the food, we truly enjoyed all of the authentic homestyle dishes and were very satisfied with the tastes and portions.
The Bun Bo Hue is a “hue style” noodle soup that’s spicy. It’s usually made with tomato and crab meat broth. I asked for little spice for my bowl of noodles. It was really good. The broth was refreshing and umami at the same time. There weren’t too many pieces of meat in it, and the pho noodles were also firm and not too chewy.
We were told about the Rice Bowls which contained steamed rice with meat and vegetables of the day. Since we were there for a tasting, we were able to choose two different types of meats for our dish. We chose the chicken curry as well as the brown sugar braised pork belly all on the same dish. The chicken curry was really good with the steamed rice! The brown sugar braised pork belly was unique on its own and didn’t taste particularly sweet considering the method of cooking. Their rice bowls were an unexpected good choice!
The Goi Cuon were fresh rice paper rolls with either pork and shrimp or tofu and jicana inside. I tried the pork and shrimp rice paper rolls, and these were tasty. The paper rolls were so large too! You really can’t go wrong with this classic Vietnamse appetizer.
Lastly, we had the Banh Mi, which is a classic Vietnamese sandwich that I adore eating. It’s one of the best savory, satisfying, and fulfilling sandwiches ever made with liver pate, sour pickled daikon and carrot, cucumbers, and cilantro on a French baguette. This one was quite good and I wished I could have eaten more of it. :9
For our drinks, we ordered the Genuine Tea Co. branded Lemon Ginger Rooibos tea and Matcha Latte. A must-order beverage is actually the Viet style coffee.
We also tried their Banh Beo (they were off-menu items when we visited), which were small rice flour pancakes with a housemade dipping sauce.
It was such a pleasure to visit this new Vietnamese restaurant and try out their street food style dishes and drinks. Thank you so much for inviting us to your soft opening to try out the menu!
FTC Disclaimer: Although I was invited to a complimentary tasting at Tam Vietnamese Street Food and Cafe, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the event hosts or the business.